/Solomon Islands: Men working for WW2 bomb clearing agency die in explosion – BBC News

Solomon Islands: Men working for WW2 bomb clearing agency die in explosion – BBC News

Photo from Royal Solomon Islands Police Force

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The bomb blast occurred in the capital Honiara

Two men working for an aid agency which helps dispose of unexploded bombs have been killed in an explosion in the Solomon Islands.

Briton Stephen Atkinson and Australian Trent Lee were employees of Norwegian People’s Aid.

The blast took place in a residential part of the capital Honiara on Sunday.

The Solomon Islands, a WW2 battleground in the South Pacific, are littered with thousands of unexploded bombs.

The Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) described the explosion as a “tragic accident”.

Its Deputy Secretary General Per Nergaard said an “investigation needs to be completed before there can be a conclusion on the cause of events”.

The organisation’s Secretary General Henriette Killi Westhrin added that it was “devastated by what has happened”.

Lee had described himself as a Chemical Weapons Advisor on his Facebook page, adding that his role was “to survey and locate the items, then hand information over [to] the Solomon Islands Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal team”.

This was confirmed by a statement from the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force who said that the survey team typically goes out first to confirm the location of unexploded ordnances before relaying the information to them.

According to the NPA, they were assisting the government in developing a centralised database “that gives an overview of the extensive amounts of explosive remnants of war contamination dating from the Second World War”.

Workers had been in the capital Honiara clearing sites of bombs ahead of the 2023 Pacific Games.